Why Buy a Headboard Separately?

You’ve probably noticed there has been an explosion of interest in interior design recently. You can barely turn on your television without being bombarded with advice or programmes. There’s Grand Designs, Interior Design Masters, Dream Home Makeover and any number revolving around renovating old or neglected homes. They cover all the topics including bedrooms and why buy a headboard separately.

Add the regular advice available in newspapers, magazines and online, and it can be a bit overwhelming. Whatever effect you are going for, there is almost certainly a guide on how to achieve it out there somewhere. 

For bedrooms, however, all the gurus seem to agree the bed itself is the focal point of the room. And, unless the designer has gone all Hans Christian Andersen with a four-poster, 20 mattresses and a pea, the headboard dominates the appearance of the bed. It has both a design and a practical function.

Many beds come with the headboard built in, but that is not always ideal. For one thing, it means you can’t change it without throwing out the entire bed. On top of that, you lose flexibility – is it purely decorative, is it there for comfort, or do you plan to use it to store things?

You need a headboard. The alternative is that the bed rests directly against the wall. It’s impossible to see this as being comfortable and, if it’s an outside wall, it could be too cold or too hot depending on the weather.  

There is another practical function. A separate headboard probably means your bed doesn’t come with a built-in footboard either. That not only makes life easier when you are making the bed but also removes an obstruction that can make the room look crowded.

Does a Headboard Make a Room Look Smaller?

Technically, it is possible to fit a headboard that would shrink the appearance of the room. But you would have to work hard at it, and the room would have to be huge in the first place. 

Assuming you’re not looking to furnish a space the size of a tennis court, any headboard you are going to fit will improve the appearance of the room and will make it look bigger. That is not necessarily an optical illusion. If you buy a headboard separately, you have the option of getting one that actually saves you floor space. 

You can include shelving and built-in nightstands so that you don’t need a separate bedside cabinet. You can have somewhere next to the bed to keep the things you may need overnight and will definitely need when you get up. That might be a reading lamp, glasses (both the drinking and visual varieties), phone and all the rest. You don’t need to sacrifice space that you could use for other things.

Alternatively, the headboard can be purely decorative. One like the Olson and Baker Marsh Headboard that neatly frames the head of the bed helps the unit look less bulky. The less the bed dominates the room, the greater the surrounding space looks.

Strangely, the opposite is also true. An oversized headboard can also shrink the room. Because the headboard will normally be up against the wall, it doesn’t add bulk to the room. It can, instead, create the illusion that the walls stretch further from the bed, giving the feeling of more space. 

Can Any Headboard Fit Any Bed? 

Headboards come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they all have in common is that they all work with just about any bed. Some beds, particularly divans, come with fittings to attach the head straight to the bed. In every case, however, the measurements are standard. They depend on the size of the bed, but as long as you match the two, you won’t run into any problems. 

The other alternative is one that attaches to the wall. Fitting a headboard this way takes a little more thought and work, but it is still straightforward. The results are certainly worth it.

What you need to do is measure the height of the bed from the floor and the distance between the top batten and the bottom of the headboard. Add the numbers and subtract about 21 or 22 cm (about 8.5 inches) to let the headboard overlap with the mattress. This gives you the height where you will need to fix the batten to the wall.

Mark two or more screw holes, double-checking they are level with each other. Drill and plug the holes and attach the batten to the wall. Then hang the headboard from the fixed batten. Push the bed back into place and adjust the headboard so that it is centred correctly. It’s as simple as that. Now you have your wall-hung headboard ready to feast your eyes on or rest against while you read in bed. A bit of measuring, arithmetic, drilling and screwing, but the results are worth it.

Is It Cheaper to Buy a Headboard Separately?

One of the best reasons to buy a headboard separately is that it will almost certainly save you money. While you could get involved in an interior design arms race and opt for something covered in gold and peacock feathers, anything remotely sane will be cheaper than buying a bed frame with a built-in headboard.

Even better, it also gives you the option of flexibility. There are plenty of reasons you may want to change the look of a bedroom. It might be a child’s room that needs to evolve as the youngster grows. You might move house and need to remodel things. Or, people just get bored with the same look year after year.

The significant benefit of choosing to buy a headboard separately is the way it makes it easy to change the whole mood of the room without having to splash out on a new bed.

You can change the colour, shape, or style of the headboard and transform the room in the process. If you want a more traditional look, find a wooden one. A more comfortable and homely appearance: there are plenty of upholstered and padded headboards like the Olson and Baker Ogilvie Headboard out there. Going all art déco? Consider the Olson and Baker Fulhame Headboard.

Suddenly, you need some extra bedside storage? Again, no problem. You can get one with shelves or even one with built-in bedside stands to keep overnight essentials on. 

How Do I Find the Right Headboard?

It is always going to be a matter of personal choice when it comes to selecting the right headboard for your room. It is not a matter of right and wrong; more a matter of what works for you.

That does not mean there are no guidelines. There are things you have to think about before you buy or risk being saddled with one that is a source of endless frustration, when you are looking for satisfaction.

Make sure the headboard is the right size. It has got to fit in with the scale of the bed and the space available in the surrounding room. If it is a big, feature piece, you will want something that dominates the space. If the decor is minimalist, the headboard will need to be small and neat as well. Whatever you go for, the headboard has to complement the style of your bedroom. For example, a wooden headboard can add warmth and texture to a rustic or farmhouse-style bedroom, while a tufted headboard can add elegance and sophistication to a more traditional space.

The materials used to make it matter too. They make headboards from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, fabric, and leather. Consider the pros and cons of each material and choose one that fits your style and budget.

Think about colour. A headboard can be a great way to add some pop to your bedroom. A headboard in a bold hue or pattern makes an equally bold statement.

Why Are Headboards Expensive?

In theory, you could just stick a sheet of plywood to the wall behind the bed and call it a headboard. But it wouldn’t be practical, it wouldn’t look good, and it wouldn’t last all that long.

With headboards, as with so many other things in life, going all cheap doesn’t always save you money and never makes you want to show off what you have got. The fact is that with headboards, as with most things, you get what you pay for.

There is a cheap end of the market, but you are getting coverings that won’t last, padding that will fall apart and a guarantee of shoddy workmanship. By the time you have replaced the headboard half a dozen times, you will have spent more than the price of a good one and never had the pleasure of enjoying the look and feel of any of them.

If you go for a wooden headboard, you want assurances on the quality of both the wood itself and the craftsmanship. It only takes one botched joint for the whole thing to fall apart. 

The other option is a padded one like the Olson and Baker Grosseteste Headboard. You get to choose the fabric from patterned cloth to velvet to leather. The padding is soft and hard-wearing, and those working on it are true craftspeople. It may cost a little more, but the guarantees are worth it.

After all, you probably spend more time using the bed than any other piece of furniture in the house, so it is worth spending a little more to get it right.

Can You Buy a Headboard Separately?

As with so many other matters of design, choosing to buy a headboard separately is matter of individual taste. You can certainly buy an all-in-one bed, but if you do, you are stuck with it until you are prepared to replace the entire thing. Instead of being able to replace bits as they wear out, tastes change, or you simply want to freshen up the space, you are stuck with the frame whether or not it is suitable. 

Here at Olson and Baker we have our own range of separate headboards, that gives you a good idea of the options. There is a wide range of styles and colour schemes to fit just about any taste, from simple to flamboyant. 

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